Ona Munson

Ona Munson (born Owena Elizabeth Wolcott; June 16, 1903 – February 11, 1955) was an American film and stage actress. She starred in nine Broadway productions and 20 feature films in her career, which spanned over 30 years.

Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Munson began her stage career in New York theater in 1919, debuting on Broadway in George White's Scandals. She starred in another four Broadway plays and musicals before the end of the 1920s. In 1930, she moved to Los Angeles to embark on a career in film, but after appearing as leads in several films, such as Going Wild (1930) and The Hot Heiress (1931), she returned to Broadway, starring in several productions, including Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts (1935).

Munson resumed her film career in the late 1930s, and was cast as madam Belle Watling in David O. Selznick's Gone with the Wind (1939), a role which became her most famous. She starred in numerous films for Warner Bros. in the 1940s, but was often typecast based on her performance in Gone with the Wind, for instance in von Sternberg’s The Shanghai Gesture (1941).

Munson married painter Eugene Berman in 1950, her second husband after a five-year marriage to director Edward Buzzell. She also had several documented affairs with women, including Alla Nazimova and playwright Mercedes de Acosta. Some commentators have considered her marriages as "lavender marriages", concealing Munson's homosexuality. By the mid-1950s, Munson was suffering from health complications following an unspecified surgical procedure, and frequently was using barbiturates. In February 1955, Berman found Munson dead in their Manhattan apartment, having committed suicide via a barbiturate overdose.

Birth and Death Data: Born June 16, 1903 (Portland), Died February 11, 1955 (New York City)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1930 - 1931

Roles Represented in DAHR: vocalist

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Brunswick LTR338 12-in. 10/23/1930 Jantzen Knitting Mills program A, part 1 Inez Courtney ; Ona Munson Radio transcription disc : Female vocal duet vocalist  
Brunswick LTR339 12-in. 10/23/1930 Jantzen Knitting Mills program A, part 2 Inez Courtney ; Ona Munson Radio transcription disc : Female vocal duet vocalist  
Brunswick LTR340 12-in. 10/23/1930 Jantzen Knitting Mills program A, part 3 Inez Courtney ; Ona Munson Radio transcription disc : Female vocal duet vocalist  
Brunswick LAT934 12-in. 2/3/1931 Common people Ona Munson Female vocal solo vocalist  
Brunswick LAT935 10-in. 2/3/1931 You’re the cats [sic] Ona Munson Female vocal solo vocalist  
Brunswick LAT1172 12-in. 6/7/1931 Vacuum Oil program R, part 1 Gus Arnheim ; Ona Munson Radio transcription disc : Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band vocalist  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Munson, Ona," accessed July 21, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/334732.

Munson, Ona. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved July 21, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/334732.

"Munson, Ona." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 21 July 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/334732

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